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Pulmonary Function Lab

When a child has a heart or lung disorder, it's often necessary to do breathing or exercise testing to determine how well the heart and lungs are working. UCSF's Pediatric Pulmonary Lab provides the full gamut of these tests in a kid-friendly setting.

The lab has state-of-the-art equipment to measure various aspects of pulmonary function, such as lung volume, in children of any age, even small infants. These tests can be crucial for making medical decisions such as whether to proceed with a treatment or change a medication. They're also important for managing chronic lung disorders like asthma or cystic fibrosis and to diagnose lung abnormalities. We use minimally invasive procedures so the tests will be less scary. In select cases, we can provide sedation administered under the care of our board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists.

We are also equipped to provide a comprehensive assessment of how well a child's heart and lungs responds to exercise. That can help us detect or diagnose what might be causing symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness.

While having good equipment is important, having skilled, experienced laboratory technicians who know how to coach a child through a test is essential. Our technicians do an expert job with even the very young.

Why choose us:

A full range of pulmonary tests for children

  • The comprehensive Pulmonary Function Laboratory at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals provides the full range of services, from a hypoxic challenge and altitude simulation studies to testing of pulmonary function in infants and children, exercise stress, and bronchoprovocation.
  • The information gathered from these tests helps our certified pediatric pulmonologists understand lung diseases, lung growth, and recovery after illnesses.

Pediatric cardiopulmonary exercise testing

A comprehensive assessment of how a child's heart and lungs respond to the stress of exercise.

  • Exercise electrocardiography
  • Exercise echocardiography
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing with expiratory gas analysis
  • Exercise testing with central hemodynamic monitoring
  • Exercise and pharmacologic perfusion imaging

Follow-up and pulmonary medication therapies

  • Not all services offered in the Pulmonary Function Lab are for diagnosis, and we're considered a top Bay Area provider of medicated aerosol therapies.
  • Much of our lab equipment helps us follow patient responses to medication so that we can provide follow-up care and alter treatments to meet your child's progress.

Comfort and expert care for your child

  • Breathing tests are some of the scariest for a child to undergo, which is why we provide advanced pulmonary function testing that uses minimally invasive procedures designed to ease your child's fears and discomforts.
  • Sedation may also be available in select cases and is always provided under the care of our board-certified pediatric anesthesiologists.

Pulmonary testing for young children and infants

  • Some infants are born with chest deformities and defects that alter lung volumes. A special technique to "hug" the infant chest during testing allows for better evaluation of airflow rates before and after bronchodilators.
  • The Sensormedics and Jaeger equipment in our facilities means that we're able to test the lung function of small infants and toddlers to help diagnose abnormalities in lung function at a very early age.

Our locations (3)

    Awards & recognition

    • One of the nation's best in pulmonology & lung surgery

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

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    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Learn more

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    Sleep Disorders Center

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    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Learning never stops

    Our classroom and bedside classes help kids get credit and keep learning during treatment.

    See our school program